Guy Hands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guy Hands
Guy Hands at AIC 2019.jpg
Guy Hands (Founder, Terra Firma) spoke at the 2019 Alternative Investments Conference featuring 320 delegates and 40 speakers across 2 days. The conference took place at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London.
Born (1959-08-27) 27 August 1959 (age 62)
London, UK
EducationThe Judd School
Alma materMansfield College, Oxford
OccupationPrivate equity investor
EmployerTerra Firma (2002- )
Nomura Securities (1994-2002)
Goldman Sachs (1982-1994)
Known forFounder of Terra Firma Capital Partners, Founder of Nomura Principal Finance Group

Guy Hands (born 27 August 1959)[1] is an English financier and investor. He is most notable as the founder and chairman of Terra Firma Capital Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in Europe. Hands also served as chairman of the UK music company EMI.

Hands is well known for his frequently outspoken comments about the private equity industry.[2][3] In April 2009 he moved from the UK to Guernsey where Terra Firma is based.


Hands was born in London, to South African parents, by way of Southern Rhodesia.[1][4][5] He was educated at Holy Trinity School, Cookham, where he was diagnosed as severely dyslexic.[1] Subsequently, he was sent to Ravenscroft Preparatory School, a special needs school, aged 9 and The Judd School, Tonbridge.[6] More recently, Hands contributed the funds for the construction of the Guy Hands Library at the Judd School. In a Ravenscroft production of Macbeth in 1970, he played the part of Lady Macbeth opposite Christopher Newbury as Macbeth.[6]

Hands studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Mansfield College, Oxford.[7] At Oxford, Hands held the office of Bursar of the Oxford Union and was also President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in Michaelmas Term 1980.[6] Hands later provided funding for construction of the Hands Building at Mansfield College.[8]

Early career[edit]

Hands started his career in 1982 as a eurobond trader at Goldman Sachs. He was appointed Head of Eurobond trading in 1986 and later rose to become head of global asset structuring world-wide for Goldman's European division in 1990.[1] In 1994, Hands left Goldman to found Nomura's Principal Finance Group, which focused on European private equity investments. Hands joined Nomura after three other banks, including Goldman, turned down his investment plan.[9] At Nomura, Hands and his team completed over $20 billion of leveraged buyouts. By 2000, Hands was reported to have generated profits for the bank in excess of $1.9 billion making him a star financier in London.[10][11][12] Hands' most notable acquisitions at Nomura included Annington Homes, as well as William Hill, the bookmaker, and Angel Trains, the UK rolling stock company.[13] As well, Hands effectively became the UK's biggest pub landlord through a series of acquisitions in the 1990s.[6]

Terra Firma[edit]

In 2002, Hands founded Terra Firma Capital Partners, as a spinout from Nomura, which he had built into one of the largest private equity investors in Europe.[14][15] Terra Firma debuted with a €2 billion private equity fund, immediately making it one of the larger private equity investors in Europe.[16]

The firm's early investments, while still a division of Nomura, focused on housing (Annington Homes), leasing companies and pubs. Since 2002, the firm has made major investments in the waste management (Waste Recycling Group), energy (BGCL, East Surrey Holdings, Phoenix Natural Gas, aircraft leasing (AWAS), cinema (Odeon Cinemas/UCI) and music sectors (EMI). TFCP has also made significant investments in German residential housing (Deutsche Annington) and motorway services (Tank & Rast).

Terra Firma is now also one of the world's leading private equity investors in renewable energy.[17][18] Its investments include the UK-based green energy business (Infinis), a US wind energy business (EverPower) and an Italian solar energy business (RTR).

Hands and Terra Firma are also known for the failed investment in British music company EMI, which was later taken over by Citigroup, the main lender in the investment.[19] Citigroup took ownership of EMI Group from Terra Firma on 1 February 2011, wiping out the firm's investments and writing off £2.2 billion of debt.[20][21] Despite implementing an operational turnaround,[22][23] Terra Firma was reported to have lost $2.5 billion in the EMI transaction, representing roughly one-third of Terra Firma's investor's capital as well as more than 60% of Hands' personal net worth.[24][25] Hands had spent much of 2010 engaged in litigation with Citigroup, claiming the bank engaged in fraud during its auction of EMI in 2007.[26] The lawsuit went to trial in New York in late 2010[27] and resulted in a jury finding in favor of Citigroup. This verdict was however overturned in May 2013, after a US federal appeals court found that the American trial judge, Jed Rakoff, had incorrectly instructed the jury on a point of English law.[28]

A new, judge-led trial was heard by Mr Justice Burton in London in June 2016. After two days of evidence, during which Hands admitted on more than one occasion that he didn't have 'that memory anymore', lawyers for Terra Firma withdrew the case with all costs to be borne by Terra Firma. Burton said: "I’m sure this is the right result". Citi said: "We have always maintained that the allegations made by Terra Firma were entirely baseless." Hands said the claims had been brought in good faith, but that documentation and memories of these events after nine years was no longer sufficient to meet the high demands of proof required, and that the matter is now closed.[29][30]

Personal life[edit]

Hands started an art business before going to University. Once at Oxford it became known as 'Artsake' and employed a large number of Hands' fellow students. While at university, he became friends with William Hague, who was later best man at his wedding, in 1984, to Julia Caroline Ablethorpe.[1] The couple have two sons and two daughters.[1] His wife's house in Kent, just outside Sevenoaks, was once presented to Winston Churchill, while his family's estate in Tuscany, Villa Saletta, produces wine and olive oil.[1] The estate's wines have won several awards.[31][32]

Hands and his wife own the Hand Picked Hotels chain of 20 English country house properties, which is run by Julia Hands.

In April 2009, in protest at the UK tax system, Hands moved to the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Since then, he has not been to the UK and his family travel to Guernsey to see him.[33] The writer Malcolm Gladwell called the move to Guernsey an "incredibly interesting pathology", seeing exile from the UK as a significant reverse in the benefits of being immensely wealthy.[34]

In 2017 Guy and Julia Hands agreed to a deal to acquire McDonald's Nordic operations. The Nordic countries consist of approximately 435 restaurants, 95% of which are franchised. The deal will see Hands become the developmental licensee and master franchiser for McDonald's in the region.[35][36]

In May 2019 he admitted to The Times that he had an addiction to roast potatoes and gravy and that he had sought treatment from hypnosis to combat it.[37][38]

Hands took a stake in ROXi in December 2020, as part of a £13 million fundraiser led by Sun Capital Partners - a company managed by Hugh Osmond, the former owner of PizzaExpress and Center Parcs. Roxi was founded by Rob Lewis in 2014. [39][40]


The Hands family support a number of charities including the Prince's Trust, King's College, Cambridge, Duke of Edinburgh Awards,[41] Kids Company, The Eve Appeal, Hospice in the Weald, ICAN, and Outward Bound.[42]

They have also been significant supporters of Mansfield College, Oxford. In recognition of their significant contributions, Mansfield hosts an annual Hands Lecture series, whose speakers have included Lord Mandelson, David Boies and Bob Geldof.[43] Since 2014, the Hands family has donated £2.2 million towards Mansfield's Love Lane building, which will house the University's new Institute of Human Rights.[44][45]

Hands first donated money to Mansfield College in 1995, and has since been active in its development. One of the areas of change Hands has been vocal on was the decision to focus on providing educational access to 'non-typical students'. The college now claims a UK state school intake of 91.4% compared with just under 60% for the rest of the University - a statistic which Hands stated 'puts Mansfield in a different league'.[46]

Through Terra Firma London, Hands donates 10% of pre-tax profits to the Terra Firma Charitable Trust and Impetus - The Private Equity Foundation, with these donations going to local communities in Southwark in South London where the company has offices.[47][48][49]

Hands was named the 2018 Philanthropist of The Year at the annual Spear's Wealth Management Awards for his contributions to a number of charities.[50][51]

Honours and appointments[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wray, Richard (18 January 2008). "Profile: Guy Hands". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  2. ^ Hands, Guy (13 November 2011). "Guy Hands: 'the days of speculation and quick returns must end'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  3. ^ Private equity is being forced to face new reality. City A.M. 9 December 2011
  4. ^ "You've got to hand it to him". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ "UK: THE ANDREW DAVIDSON INTERVIEW - GUY HANDS - Nomura's money-making magician gobbles up pokey, cash-flow ..." Management Today. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Siobhan, Business big shot: Guy Hands dated 30 July 2007, online at
  7. ^ Guy Hands Profile. Terra Firma Capital Partners website
  8. ^ "Building for the Future" (PDF). Mansfield College Oxford. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2015.
  9. ^ Hands edges toward Nomura exit door. The Daily Telegraph. 7 May 2001
  10. ^ Guy Hands. Financial News, 14 June 2000
  11. ^ The Man Who Loves Disasters. Business Week, 5 June 2000
  12. ^ Nomura's guy hands: Dealmaker extraordinaire. Global Finance, November 2001
  13. ^ UK Terra Firma to seal debut deal Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. AltAssets, 9 June 2003
  14. ^ Hands seen dropping plans for major bank role in new fund Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. AltAssets, 30 July 2001
  15. ^ COWELL, ALAN. "World Business Briefing | Europe: Britain: Nomura Investor To Open Fund." New York Times, 10 November 2001
  16. ^ Guy Hands’ Terra Firma holds first close on debut independent fund Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. AltAssets, 1 November 2002
  17. ^ Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report. Bloomberg, 2011
  18. ^ Bloomberg New Energy Finance Names Top Clean Energy Investors., 2010
  19. ^ Joshua R. Wueller, Mergers of Majors: Applying the Failing Firm Doctrine in the Recorded Music Industry, 7 Brook. J. Corp. Fin. & Com. L. 589, 597–604 (2013) (describing Terra Firma's purchase of EMI, Citigroup's seizure of the company, and the subsequent breakup, sale, and antitrust scrutiny surrounding the music company).
  20. ^ Citigroup wrestles EMI from Guy Hands' grasp, The Guardian 1 February 2011
  21. ^ "EMI announces successful capital restructuring, and change of ownership". EMI Music. 1 February 2011. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  22. ^ Give Guy credit for EMI's Brits success Archived 25 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine. London Evening Standard. 18 February 2011
  23. ^ EMI Annual review 2009/2010 Archived 16 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine. EMI Music 2009/2010
  24. ^ Guy Hands on life after EMI. Business Monitor, 10 March 2011
  25. ^ "Guy Hands 'Disappointed' Over EMI". New York Times. 22 February 2011. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011.
  26. ^ Michael J. de la Merced.Suit Accuses Citigroup of Fraud in EMI Deal. New York Times, 11 December 2009
  27. ^ Financier And Banker To Face Off On EMI Sale. New York Times, 14 October 2010
  28. ^ "US Appeals Court tosses verdict in Terra Firma – Citigroup dispute". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  29. ^ "Guy Hands drops Citigroup EMI lawsuit". BBC Business News. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Guy Hands abandons £1.5bn fraud claim against Citigroup". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  31. ^ Wine Details: Borgo Saletta - IGT Rosso Toscana 2006 Archived 4 September 2012 at International Wine and Spirit Competition 2006
  32. ^ Saletta wine description Archived 20 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Villa Saletta website
  33. ^ Finch, Julia (7 February 2010). "I save tax by never visiting my family, says tycoon Guy Hands". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  34. ^ Foley, Stephen (19 September 2014) Running with the FT: Malcolm Gladwell
  35. ^ "Guy Hands tucks into Nordic McDonald's franchise". Evening Standard. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  36. ^ Clark, Simon. "Private-equity pioneer Guy Hands buys Nordic McDonald's restaurants". MarketWatch. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  37. ^ Editor, Jonathan Leake, Science. "Star City investor Guy Hands admits addiction to roast potatoes and gravy and seeking hypnosis to beat it". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 13 March 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  38. ^ Saner, Emine (28 May 2019). "Spuds you like: how hypnosis helped Guy Hands go cold turkey on roast potatoes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  39. ^ "Guy Hands returns to UK music scene with ROXi stake". Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  40. ^ Martin, Ben. "Guy Hands gets his groove back with Roxi music". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  41. ^ DofE Supporters Archived 23 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
  42. ^ "Trustees' Report and Financial Statements" (PDF).
  43. ^ "City Diary: Guy Hands showed a degree of enterprise in his Oxford years". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  44. ^ "Mansfield College, Oxford: Love Lane Campaign: Building for the future". Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  45. ^ "Bonavero Institute of Human Rights". Oxford Law Faculty.
  46. ^ "Guy Hands: Other people fear change. I make it my business". Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  47. ^ "Terra Firma London - Supporting the local community". Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  48. ^ "Our supporters | Impetus − The Private Equity Foundation". Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  49. ^ Coates, Ashley (15 January 2017). "Guy Hands's private equity firm resumes dividend". Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  50. ^ "Guy Hands named Spear's Philanthropist of the Year 2018". Spear's Magazine. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  51. ^ "Guy Hands interview: Reign of Terra". Spear's Magazine. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.

External links[edit]